Whispering Winds Scattering Garden
New features, designs add to ambiance
While cremation may now be mainstream, back in 1986 it was still considered largely a novel option for final disposition if, that is, it was considered at all. By a whopping 86% to 14%, Americans favored more traditional methods of being laid to rest during that era. Yet, while ground burials were commonplace, Arlington began looking to the future and studying trends and how to respond to them. One response, viewed at the time as totally unorthodox, was to use some of the more secluded and overgrown area on the north end of the grounds, close to the Compton Road entrance, to develop Whispering Winds, a space dedicated exclusively as a “scattering garden” of cremated remains.
Ann Meyer, Arlington’s Vice President of Administration has been employed at Arlington since 1980. She has described how her father, the late Gus Beall, who served as Arlington’s president until his death in 1988, together with his successor, Ed Friedhoff, convinced Arlington’s Board of Trustees to approve the concept of a scattering garden even though cremation in Cincinnati at that time lagged far behind the national average of 14%. “We would tell people about Whispering Winds,” says Meyer, “and you could sense their discomfort.” But, according to Meyer, time has caught up with what was once an oddity. “The beautiful and serene space that is Whispering Winds is now the final resting place for over 500 Arlington decedents.”
With the continual rise of cremation, Arlington’s leaders have opted to continue developing Whispering Winds in order to provide a convenient alternative for those present day generations of families who have long histories with Arlington but have decided for any number of reasons that they favor cremation and/or scattering as their preferred method of final disposition. Last autumn, a new obelisk was installed and this past June the obelisk was adorned with a gracefully sculpted dove created by local artist John Leon. As the final touch-up for 2020, work begins the week of September 28th with the installation of a new paver walkway around the current border that will include benches for visitation and/or reflective purposes.
In 2021 and 2022, Arlington will expand the area much more as a part of a redevelopment project of the Compton Road entrance and frontage. HWH Architects, Engineers & Planners of Cleveland, Ohio are under contract to provide a comprehensive design that will include a wider entrance and exit to ease traffic congestion and potentially, new water features – including one that would border Whispering Winds, giving it an even more tranquil setting.